Understanding diversity patterns and the mechanisms underlying those patterns along elevational gradients is critically important for conservation efforts in montane ecosystems, especially those that are biodiversity hotspots. Despite recent advances, consensus on the underlying causes, or even the relative influence of a suite of factors on elevational diversity patterns has remained elusive. We examined patterns of species richness, density and range size distribution of birds, and the suite of biotic and abiotic factors (primary productivity, habitat variables, climatic factors and geometric constraints) that governs diversity along a 4500-m elevational gradient in the Eastern Himalayan region, a biodiversity hotspot within the world's tallest mountains.